TIMB Wields Axe On Leanrise Tobacco For Side Marketing, Leasing License To Another Entity
12 January 2023
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By A Correspondent| The Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) has cancelled Leanrise Tobacco Private Limited’s contract buying license after being found guilty on charges of engaging in side marketing.

In its 12 December 2022 dated letter to Leanrise Chief Executive Officer Rhonwell Danga, TIMB Acting Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Matsvaire accused the company of leasing its contract buying license to a company called Munyasha Tobacco.

“It is allefed that you committed an offence in terms of Section 81 (4) of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Act (Chapter 18:20)

“In that you have contravened the conditions of the licence issued to yourself under the Act by leasing your contract buying licence to Munyasha Tobacco P/L thereby directly facilitating the buying of tobacco by a person without a licence,” said Matsvaire.

In their response, Leanrise through their lawyers Murambasvina Legal Practice hit back accusing TIMB of incorrect application of Section 81(4) which they said did not specify the conduct prohibited.

“An analysis of s 81(4) of the Act reveals that in terms of this provision, there is no conduct, which is specifically prohibited. Rather this provision just declares guilty a person who acts contrary to express conditions of an authority, licence or permit,” said Leanrise.

The company further accused TIMB of failing to inform them of express conditions of their licence that they were acting in contrary to.

“However, your letter seems to suggest that we are leasing our licence to Munyasha Tobacco P/L thereby directly facilitating the buying of tobacco by a person without a licence.

“Firstly, this is not a breach of an express implied condition of our licence. Please note that any tobacco purchased by the use of the Leanrise licence is tobacco purchased for Leanrise. In any event, the Leanrise licence cannot be used to purchase tobacco from growers who are not contracted with Leanrise.

“We are not side marketing and there is nothing to substantiate any allegation of such nature,” said Leanrise.

The company further defended itself saying it is entitled to have agents who use their licence to advance their business.

“In the instance, Munyasha Tobacco P/L is our agent and it is advancing the interest of our business. You have not established their conduct that violates any provisions, which we therefore become liable to,” added Leanrise.

However, Leanrise’s defense could not save them as, TIMB proceeding to cancel their buying licence putting an end to the drama that started as far back as August 2022.

“After considering the contents therein, your justification for leasing your license to Munyasha Agro Pvt Ltd and all circumstances surrounding the matter, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has decided to cancel your license in terms of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing (Prohibition of side marketing) Regulations, 2022 SI 77 of 2022

“Kindly note that, effective immediately, you nolonger have any rights or obligations flowing from a tobacco contract buyers’ licence,” said Matsvaire.